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February 18, 2011 > Preparation Can Help Prevent Disaster

Preparation Can Help Prevent Disaster

CPR for Family and Friends Prepares Parents, Caretakers for Emergency

All new parents want to do everything in their power to make sure their baby is safe and healthy, right from the very beginning. From prenatal vitamins to researching car seats.

But some things are so important-and often so scary to think of-that they sometimes get overlooked. Like knowing how to properly perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on an infant or young child should an emergency arise.

And unfortunately, disaster tends to strike when we least expect it, so it's better to be prepared in advance rather than feel helpless in a true emergency.

"Anything that happens to an infant or young child is scary," says Karen Smith, R.N., coordinator of Washington Hospital's Maternal/Child Education Department. "And knowing CPR helps take away some of the helplessness."

To make sure that new parents and caregivers have the tools they need, the Maternal/Child Education Department-located just across the street from the main hospital-regularly offers a CPR for Family and Friends class designed for parents and caregivers.

"CPR for Family and Friends is just that," Smith says. "It's not a certified class because it doesn't cover CPR for adults, but it does follow American Heart Association guidelines for infants and children. And the cost is only $30.

"It's the one thing you need to know immediately because it does take time for 9-1-1 to respond. By knowing CPR, at least you can feel like you are doing something until they get there."

While the class is helpful for those who have never taken a CPR class, Smith also says that it's a good opportunity for those who have been through a class in the past, especially since the American Heart Association, upon reviewing data, has made some significant updates to CPR protocol.

"People may not know that the guidelines have changed for CPR," she says. "Now is a good time to get up-to-date on new guidelines. You want to stay current in your knowledge and this class is an inexpensive way of doing that."

During the four-hour class, which is held during the week and on Saturdays, each participant has ample time to practice on a mannequin under the supervision of a long-time certified instructor, according to Smith.

"Our certified instructor Ginny Powell really makes it interesting; she has an amazing talent for making the time pass quickly," she adds.

Bringing Up (a Happy, Healthy) Baby

Washington Hospital's Maternal/Child Education Department (and Breastfeeding Support) offers a range of pre- and post-natal programs and services. For more information, call (510) 791-3423 or visit

CPR for Family and Friends

This is an American Heart Association course teaching adults rescue breathing (CPR) and how to relieve choking of infants and children. Non-certified. Fee: $30
When: February 26; March 14, 24; April 9, 14, 23; May 3, 14, 26; June 4, 9, 18

Infant Massage

Learn to communicate your love through touch. Our hands-on method insures that you will learn the art of interactive massage to suit your baby's individual schedule, needs and developmental level. This four-week class is designed for you with your baby, from birth to pre-crawling. Fee: $65
When: March 10, April 14, May 12

Sign, Say and Play

Did you know babies can learn to communicate by signing before they can talk? Through stimulating activities, songs and play, you and your six to 12-month old infant will learn six to seven signs each week. Fee: $140
When: February 24, April 21

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